An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914
Lot 167Y
An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish
Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914
Sold for HK$ 187,500 (US$ 23,887) inc. premium


28 Nov 2011, 10:00 HKT

Hong Kong, Admiralty

Lot Details
An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914 An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914 An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914
An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish
Yu Shuo, Tianjin, dated 1914
4.62cm diam.


  • Treasury 7, no. 1556

    于碩, 天津, 1914年製

    An inscribed and carved ivory 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream' snuff dish

    Ivory and black pigment; a snuff dish of cylindrical section, concave on each side; the top engraved with an idyllic scene of a fisherman in a small covered skiff fishing offshore from a country retreat partly built on stilts in the shallow waters, surrounded by various types of trees and with hills in the distance, inscribed in running script with the title 'Fishing Alone on a Spring Stream', followed by 'in imitation of a painting by Liuru jushi', followed by the signature, Xiaoxuan; the back inscribed in running script with ten poetic compositions by Lu Guimeng (d. ca. 881), followed by '[This is] engraved by Xiaoxuan, Yu Shuo, in Tianjin during the first decade of the first month of spring in the jiayin year for the elegant judgment of Master Zhongshan.
    Yu Shuo, Tianjin, 1914
    Diameter: 4.62 cm

    Condition: some very minor surface wear and fine scratches consistent with age; otherwise, workshop condition

    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1991)

    Treasury 7, no. 1556

    Although it appears to be a lengthy poem, the long inscription on one main side actually consists of ten poems, each made up of eight lines. Yu Shuo (1873 –1957) has inscribed them one after the other without a break. As translated in Treasury 7, they read:

    Recently I prefer to live a quiet life.
    I have therefore moved to a place near the old city.
    In my leisure I hammer at the material used to adorn my qin.
    Once in a while I write letters thanking friends who have sent me medicine.
    In the evening I watch water birds rest on the river.
    On sunny days I sun the fish in my rattan basket.
    Since there is no particular purpose to go anywhere,
    There is no need to get myself a plank wagon.

    I hire someone to care for a sick lotus.
    I watch my servant mend the thatched roof.
    I wear my hair loose, in much the same way as Ruan [Ji].
    [Yet] I would not dare to emulate Chao[fu].
    For stationery I write on dew[-nurtured] bamboo;
    For bottles I wait for the gourds to break through the frost.
    On fair days I sit in a tree grove,
    Hoping to befriend the mist-shrouded creepers closest to me.

    A Japanese monk has left me paper made abroad;
    A village craftsman has made me a couch.
    I dare say nobody can beat me in being lazy to venture out.
    I am, indeed, a king among the poor.
    Sea gulls are happy when the pool is calm;
    Butterflies are in a frenzy when flowers are gone.
    You wonder what my plans for the early autumn are?
    I have water caltrops and lotus roots in a pond slightly over one mou big.

    In vain have I thrown myself into the old mountain.
    Who among those in power would know [about it]?
    I have only policies to manage the times,
    But no funds to support my retirement.
    My illness grave, I pity more the moxa patient;
    Cookfire late, I put my faith in the woodcutter.
    Foolishly I wish to offer up the mores of the times,
    But the officials of the Zhou dynasty are not collecting poems.

    What room is there in the Happy Land for moats?
    How can the Gate to Mystery have a door?
    In silence I contemplate the words on jasper tablets.
    In leisure I wash the robe to use with my iron walking stick.
    Birds dive through a veil of cool mist,
    While people heading home brave the evening rain.
    My old garden, dreams of autumn grasses:
    I still remember the quiet, faded green.

    Reflections on the water: fish traps sink.
    Sound from the neighbours: spinning wheel turning.
    Swallows are light, brushing falling leaves.
    Bees are lazy, lying among withering flowers.
    In reviewing history I comment on a number of events;
    On discussing military matters I analyse the strategies of a hundred schools.
    If in an enlightened age one is not employed,
    Just go home to cultivate mulberry trees and hemp.

    Where Sage emperor Yu kept the books, naught remains.
    The unique realm at Leiping has become ruins.
    Chanting quietly, I seal the arcane scriptures.
    When thoughts of returning home stir, I shape the mast for a sailing boat.
    White pebbles are good enough to be my rice.
    Verdant creepers are just fine to be made into hats.
    Some day we will stand underneath the handle of the Dipper,
    And ascend the altar [to perform the ritual] of pacing through the stars.

    Forcing myself to sit, I put a garment over my shoulders,
    Walking slowly, on this day of Putting Away the Heat.
    Going up the steps, I attract fighting sparrows;
    Transplanting trees, I disperse frightened cicadas.
    No one cares about the steed that pulls carts of salt.
    Who reads the Mystery, whose pages are used to cover sauce jars?
    If the yellow metal can be converted,
    I'll move close to you and buy the cloudy springs.

    Nature's unkemptness penetrates alleys overgrown with weed.
    A steep incline invades my whitewashed bamboo door.
    Winds high, the bristling shells of chestnuts open.
    Sands shallow, roots of cress exposed.
    Scattering rats rush along the vine gate beam;
    Hungry crows perch on the stone pots.
    Although the state of Wu in the east remains unchanged,
    Who is the descendant of King Wu?

    Carelessness and laziness—my nature all along.
    The time is right—but I've no abilities at all.
    For breeze and the moon, though we may compete,
    In groves and fountains we are lucky to have no enmity.
    Ingredients for wine are exhausted after summer;
    Debts of poetry will be collected when fall comes.
    Only you share my obsessions,
    At leisure let's pillow our heads on our arms and chat.

    Pi Rixiu presented ten poems under the title of 'Living in the Countryside' to Lu Guimeng. Lu returned Pi's favour by composing poems using the same rhymes.

    In the shorter inscription accompanying the picture, Liuru jushi is the hao (artistic name, or sobriquet) of Tang Yin (1470–1523), a talented Ming-dynasty scholar who devoted his life to painting landscapes after having been disqualified in the last of the tripartite civil-service examinations for his alleged involvement in a scandal.

    We shall omit here the brief list of glosses on these poems that were given in Treasury 7 and use our space instead to comment on 'Master Zhongshan'. Zhongshan ('Planting coral') is not a terribly common name, but we find it being used by two doctors around 1914, when this bottle was engraved, one in the north and one in the south. Yu Shuo spent his early years in his native Yangzhou, but moved to Beiping at some point. If this bottle was engraved in Tianjin in 1914, he may have been living there at the time; the following year, when Yu Shuo's work won a prize at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, he was representing Zhili province, of which Tianjin was a part. There was at this time a doctor in Liaoning province who used the name Zhongshan: Wang Yuqi. Zhongshan was both Wang's courtesy name and the name of a clinic he opened in 1908. However, Wang Yuqi's known activities are confined to Kaiyuan, in northern Liaoning province, so we cannot say whether he would have travelled to the Tianjin-Beiping area. The doctor in the south was named Qiao Zhongshan. He is known to have been living in Shanghai in 1912 – 1914 (the years when his brother-in-law, a famous Daoist scholar named Chen Yingning, stayed with him there). We know that Yu Shuo was in Shanghai for a time in 1912 (see lot 168 in this auction), so it is possible that he and Qiao Zhongshan became acquainted then.


    象牙、黑顏料;圓形鼻煙碟,兩面凹入,正面刻春溪獨釣圖,上題 "春溪獨釣,臨六如居士本。歗軒";反面書陸龜蒙《襲美見題郊居十首因次韻酬之以伸榮謝》十首,後題紀 "種珊先生大雅正之,甲寅春上浣歗軒于碩刻於津門"
    直徑: 4.62 厘米

    狀態敘述: 經過歲月的觸摸以後,呈尋常的微小擦傷;此外,出坊狀態

    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1991)

    Treasury 7, 編號1556

    六如居士,唐寅 (1470–1523) 之號也。

    種珊先生這個外號不常見。1914前後有二位醫生用之,一在遼寧一在上海。于碩 (1873 –1957), 揚州人,不知何時遷居北平。1915年,他代表直隸省參加舊金山的巴拿馬賽會獲金獎 ,那時可能是住在直隸天津。王毓琪,字種珊,開原縣人,1908年在開原創辦了"種珊私立醫塾學堂",1929 又修纂了《開原縣志》,可見,王種珊有一定的學問與名聲。可是我們不知道他1914年會不會訪問北平或天津。上海的種珊姓喬。因為有名的道學家陳櫻寧(1880~1969)在1912 – 1914年間在上海讀《道藏》的時候就住在姊夫喬種珊家裏,我們可以確定至少那時期喬種珊在上海行醫。1912年,丁碩也在上海 (見此場拍賣會,拍賣品號 168),可能在那時就認識了喬大夫。
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  1. Xibo Wang
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